When the 2010 Fifa World Cup banged on our front doors, Cape Town upped its level of awesomeness in various ways, one of them being public transport. Suddenly everyone wanted to take the train into the city, march through the newly renovated Station, and walk to the stadium. Because it had a name and signs directing you, the Fan Walk became such a trendy activity that no one was bothered with the distance. At least it got us walking. Another means of transport that launched around World Cup time was the inner city bus. Brand new busses matching first world standards were manufactured to transport people around the city centre and all the way to the CTICC. Alas, these busses stopped functioning shortly after the cup’s end. But a few months ago they were put back on the road, this time hopefully for good.
The MyCiti busses are broad and blue and have reasonably comfortable seats as well as loads of space to stand and clutch onto the nifty handle bars. Plus, they are wheelchair and bicycle friendly. Perfect for a city with minimal affordable parking spots. And it shouldn’t cost you more than the petrol it takes to drive around anyway.
Even better news, is that its not bound to the CBD streets anymore, but became the first non-taxi public transport service to link Table View and the city, the one route trains have never gone. For only R10, you can now drive from the terminal at the Civic Centre all the way down Marine Drive, ending in Blouberg. And what’s even better, is that you dodge all traffic. The Table View route runs almost entirely on a special bus lane, reserved for the MyCiti buses alone. The bus stops have glass walls and is open enough to feel fresh, yet closed off from any unwelcome elements.
The MyCiti bus makes getting around in the city super easy. That is, if you don’t like walking. The Gardens-Waterfront route starts near Gardens centre, gliding down Orange road and Loop, making a quick detour to pass the station, the terminal and then to cross Buitengracht and head down Western Boulevard toward the Waterfront. Tickets cost R5 per trip, but will presumably (read hopefully) drop once the trend catches on. On weekdays there is a bus every 10 minutes and they stop no more than 4 blocks apart. This might be a teeny bit close together, seeing as it never really gets up to speed and it will take you about 30mins to get from Gardens to the Station, for example. But, in time schedules and stops will be perfected to make this a petrol saving, safe, and very smooth way to travel.
Many people are already boasting a month’s worth supply of tickets and hop on and of professionally. There have even been rumours about a card system, where one can swipe on entry and skip the admin. How London of us. The bus is also becoming an exciting means for moms taking the vacationing kids out to get around and make the outing more of an adventure. With a trip perhaps from the Waterfront, aroundthe city and off to the beach.
It is incredibly important to support this service. If we do, it will become even better, and perhaps it will expand to become a reliable means of daily transport. All routes and time tables are available here, and also at every stop, on a colour coded, pretty sign telling you on what precise minute the bus will come. And I must say, for Africa, they are surprisingly punctual, and very clean. Quite impressive.